Australia Closes Queensland Beaches Over Thousands of People Stung by Jellyfish

Bluebottles have inundated Queensland beaches. Source AAPMore

While the vast majority of those stings are not life-threatening and were caused by so-called bluebottle colonies, researchers say that the number of more serious injuries from less common jellyfish is also at above average levels. More than 18,000 stings were recorded in Queensland in December, three times more cases than a year ago over the same period.

The latest figure for the weekend is nearly double initial estimates released by Surf Life Saving Queensland and includes people treated by council lifeguards.

Thousands were treated by lifesavers and several people reportedly suffered anaphylactic shock and were treated by paramedics.

Over the last week, around 13,000 stings were recorded on the Gold and Sunshine Coast regions, three times more than normal.

The group's Twitter page revealed the most recent encounter occurred on Monday, when a 32-year-old woman was hospitalized for a severe sting.

Experts said the jellyfish were likely strewn ashore by unusually strong winds.

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"Bluebottles have definitely been fairly rambunctious lately, pretty much throughout southeast Queensland, they've been coming in large numbers in a lot of places", Dr Gershwin told the public broadcaster.

"When you look at a bluebottle, and you see the bubble and the blue fringes and the long blue tentacles, that is actually a colony, that is not an individual". Blue Bottle Jellyfish Stings More Than 50 Tourists on Mumbai's Aksa and Girgaum Beaches.

"I have never seen anything like this - ever", he said.

The epicentre has been the popular beaches on the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast in the state of Queensland, but beaches in New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania have also been affected.

Surf Life Saving Queensland issued a "major bluebottle warning" and a spokesperson said that if stung, remove stingers, take a very hot shower and apply ice.

She said "a really weird run" of strong winds and heat spells had brought bluebottle jellyfish and other species closer to shore.

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